Third Order Effects from Crimea

This is a very good post from CDR Salamander on the potential third order effects from Crimea

Russia has demonstrated, again for those who wish to see, that history belongs to those who make it. Russia is Russia, and hard power trumps soft power.

Indeed

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/3rd-order-effects-from-crimea-start-to.html”]

Some great comments on the post as well.

Pop over and join in

 

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Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 10:37 am

The depressing thing is that it has taken Western European countries so long to realise that Putin’s Russia is a threat, despite his regime making it blindingly obvious that it is with everything from massively increased defence spending, deploying modernised weapons closer to NATO, resuming bomber and submarine patrols- oh- and invading its neighbours.

Despite all that, even as recently as the last few months, born-to-rule establishment shills like Sir H have been producing MoD sock puppet pieces declaring how wonderful the new Russia is and how great, our now hurriedly suspended, defence cooperation with it is. I wonder how long the new posture will last until its back to business as usual? After-all, we need that Oligarch money to help keep London house prices buoyant, can’t have MPs property portfolios losing value.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 20, 2014 10:55 am

Derek, you are clearly trolling? But I think that comes at a useful time

The world is going through serious discontinuities – I would not call them momentous changes as they will become that only through mismanagement.

Yet, here we are only discussing the nitty-gritty of kit (mainly).
– derailing (?) of Iran nuclear talks
– using Syria B&C decommissioning as a pawn on the chess board
– pushing NATO expansion along Russia’s southern border, for areas that are not even remotely connected, either by land or sea
– andmuchmore, at least the potential for aggressive land grabs in N. And S. East Asia havebeenmentioned (in the paßing).

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 11:23 am

ACC,

Making observations of reality is not trolling.

martin
Editor
March 20, 2014 11:23 am

An interesting perspective on the Baltic and Scandinavian countries. My concern is though that most nations like Sweden see joining NATO as a way to save money on defence. I would put the UK in the same bag as well.

In reference to hard vs soft power. Softpower can easily be more effective but only if we are prepared to use it. Sure the military hard power of Putin can grab Crimea but 6 – 12 months of harsh sanctions would leave his nation bankrupt and his economy in ruins, at which point his tanks will be of little use.

In its current format you wonder how many nations would actually respond to an article 5 violation and how many would leave the alliance if it actually called upon to fight Russia.

I can’t see Germany or Italy intervening nor do I hold out much hope for Spain.

As no one in the EU seems keen on decent sanctions at the moment then we must look at other ways to respond.

I see increased NATO membership as a sure fire way to piss Putin off without much fall back on us so lets do it.

Re starting work on the missiles shield in Poland is another good idea.

Removal from the G8 and replacement of Russia with China is another no brainer.

Set GCHQ and Mi6 the task of tracking down all the dirty money being funeled to EU politicans from Russia. Find out how much it cost to buy Gerhard Schroder and leak all the information to the press.

Challenge the energy supply situation of Finland and the Balttic states under EU competition rules. How can any EU nation justify receiving 100% of its gas from a single supplier. Brand Gazprom a monopoly as the EU did with Microsoft and take action against it. Impose massive fines and break up its business in the EU.

Many have talked about the potential upset of Russia and how it might affect the ongoing process in Syria and Iran however I think this is a lot of nonsense. Russia has done nothing other than arming the government in Syria and offered zero help on Iran. It was only US and EU sanctions that brought Iran to the table and Russian support will do little if anything to help Iran.

I dare say a militant Russia looking to rebuild its empire is a far bigger threat than a nuclear Iran anyway.

Peter Elliott
March 20, 2014 12:09 pm

I often disagree with Derek’s analysis. And I sometimes get irritated by his tone. But I enjoy the hard analytical edge to his thought. And the fact that he tries to see the world as it is rather than as we’d like it to be.

Where poeple go wrong on here is trying to engage in stand up right vs wrong arguments. For me thats not what this site’s about. And thats what leads to perceptions of trolling. When Derek says something I don’t agree with, I ponder for a bit on why I think differently, then I file it and move on.

Moral of the story: if you’re worried about Trolls then try not to be a Billygoat ;)

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
March 20, 2014 12:11 pm

It’s not just western Europe the whole world has been trying to cooperate with Russia as by doing so we thought Russia would somehow fall into everyone else’s way of thinking which was incredibly stupid. But Russian co-operation is the only way of making substantive world change much as we also need Chinese, French and US co-operation. When the UNSC works together they can influence every country in the world just about, this is the holy grail of world peace the main powers working together rather than fighting their own corners.

NATO bears some blame for spreading too far towards Russia, though I don’t see this as purely aimed at surrounding Russia but more because Russia’s neighbours want to get in with the West and NATO isn’t saying no. In my mind the US policy is more aimed at the Middle East and Asia than Russia and that has meant expanding influence in other countries that happen to be near Russia. The EU also bears some blame in that it has expanded into Eastern Europe but I don’t see how that threatens Russia security and Russia should be looking to work closely with the EU as I don’t think they can compete economically with it, and yet again this expansion has been caused by Eastern European countries wanting to get into the EU.

The problem with Ukraine also was the fact the EU pushed too hard to support the Maiden publically instead of behind the scenes working with Russia to persuade the president to stand down earlier for new elections, by the time he did step down the protest had taken hold and there was no way they would let him stay on for 6 more months. Then from there the EU and Russia still continued to push their own sides and so no agreement could be reached and the country went down the drain.

Behind this Putin saw a chance for himself to take a military action and grab Crimea in the instability, and so started a propaganda campaign that allowed him to send his troops in, once that happened agreement between the EU and Russia was out the window, and here we are.

Regards the right wing elements in Ukraine, yes they exist but they could easily have been weeded out if Putin hadn’t fuelled them by invading, and using his own radical nationalist militias from Russia.

From where we are now the only outcome I see as likely is that Ukraine has lost Crimea and Russia has lost Ukraine, this all could have been avoided if the EU/NATO and Russia had managed to have better diplomatic relations over the last few years.

This is my point of view as to what has happened.

martin
Editor
March 20, 2014 12:42 pm

@ Engineer Tom

I’m not sure how we live in a world where Russia just gets to keep Crimea and everyone goes on a forgets.

Their is plenty of blame to go around with Ukraine and the EU and the USA but none of that comes even remotely close to excusing Russia’s actions. It really makes my blood boil when I see that smug git on TV lying through his teeth and talking of Western Hypocrisy as a justification for what he did.

It makes my blood boil even more when I see our EU partners talking of wishing to avoid economic ramifications of losing Russian business as if the entire French economy would disappear down the sh**ter for the want of selling two LHD’s to Russia and it gets me even more when the defence minister of France starts to refer to those LHD’s as unarmed civilian vessels to try and avoid loosing a deal in sanctions.

The reality of the situation is that Russia has done something that was almost unthinkable in the post 1945 world. It has shattered a prolonged period of peace and opened up a can of worms that could one day end in Nuclear war and other horrors I had hoped we had evolved beyond.

If it were up to me the USA and EU would be imposing draconian sanctions aimed not just at pissing Putin off but of quite literally devastating the Russian economy and damned the expense.

Given what he has already gotten away with from using a radioactive weapon in London to annexing two of his neighbours, what would stop him going further? Its entirely possible that he will be in power for decades to come and even though he might draw back now he has time on his side.

Guaranteed China is watching this with glee and I can very well imagine it’s boarders expanding at some point if Russia gets away with this scot free which seems increasingly likely.

Observer
Observer
March 20, 2014 12:55 pm

As cruel as it may sound, I don’t think Russia really did anything wrong in this mess. Sure, use of force, but for what? To secure a region where there is a large degree of support for pro-Russian government in the first place. The area was already seriously polarised even before Russia stepped in, and if you think the pro-West Ukrainians are all love and flowers, please remember that they were the ones who started the revolt that left people dead. If you had left the area alone, I can’t say that the rebels would not have left Crimea in peace nor would the pro-Russian factions in Crimea leave the rest of the Ukraine in peace if they saw the country going in a direction they did not want.

This split is probably for the best. The ones who want to go West will go west, the ones who want to go to Mother Russia will go east. Beats them shooting at each other, this way, both get what they want.

Tubby
Tubby
March 20, 2014 1:07 pm

@Observer RE: “…and if you think the pro-West Ukrainians are all love and flowers, please remember that they were the ones who started the revolt that left people dead.”

Since it is the end of my lunch break and they frown on me posting to TD outside of lunch I will be brief. I have seen comments similar to Observer’s on several sites, and I think it over simplifies the situation. I strongly suspect that we will find it was Russian money that caused the uprising as it was almost certainly a Russian bribe that caused the last minute switch from a policy of EU engagement that the majority of the country and parliamentarians supported to one of moving closer to Russia. When plan A using soft power backfired the Russian’s stepped in with plan B, and while the EU didn’t help by stirring things up, I would say significant portion of the blame for the uprising rests with Russia’s desire to keep the EU and by extension NATO out of the Ukraine and by the Crimea.

Waylander
Waylander
March 20, 2014 1:07 pm

The UK has offered to send 4-6 Typhoons to Lithuania to bolster NATO’s Air Policing mission.
They will be in addition to the 4 Polish MiG 29s that are schedualed to be deployed to Lithuania in April.
http://www.janes.com/article/35548/uk-offers-typhoons-for-baltic-air-policing-mission

The above article says 4 aircraft, but others 6

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 20, 2014 1:14 pm

“Russia’s viewpoint is appropriately pessimistic. If Russia loses Belarus or Ukraine, it loses its strategic depth, which accounts for much of its ability to defend the Russian heartland. If the intention of the West is not hostile, then why is it so eager to see the regime in Ukraine transformed? It may be a profound love of liberal democracy, but from Moscow’s perspective, Russia must assume more sinister motives.

Quite apart from the question of invasion, which is obviously a distant one, Russia is concerned about the consequences of Ukraine’s joining the West and the potential for contagion in parts of Russia itself. During the 1990s, there were several secessionist movements in Russia. The Chechens became violent, and the rest of their secession story is well known. But there also was talk of secession in Karelia, in Russia’s northwest, and in the Pacific Maritime region.”

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/russia-examines-its-options-responding-ukraine?utm_source=freelist-f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20140318&utm_term=Gweekly&utm_content=readmore

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
March 20, 2014 1:19 pm

@ Martin

I completely agree nothing excuses a military invasion by Russia, but militarily there is nothing NATO can do as war with Russia is off the table until nuclear weapons cease to exist, and that is looking like it will be a very long time away.

And yes everyone is too weak on sanctions.

@ Observer

Yes, I see your point of stopping any violence starting, but leaving the Maiden apart as that was a multiparty protest against the Gov. rather than a true East-West fight.
The vast majority of the violence seems to have been caused by pro Russians, there seem to be far more Russian ultra-nationalists in the country than there are Ukrainian far right nationalists, and also Russia has unleashed all their militias, anytime you read Cossack’s remember they answer to the Russian Gov. as a semi uniformed/armed/official paramilitary, they were tasked with policing Sochi during the Olympics.
Also when Russia raises hell about Far right Ukrainians being armed and then show pictures with them holding hunting rifles, before cutting to pictures of ‘self-defence’ groups with assault rifles and machine guns, I don’t think they can say anything about them being threatened.

Also if they were trying to secure peace why did they allow Crimea to split so quickly instead of waiting until May as planned, by when tensions should have reduced and then holding the referendum

jonesy
jonesy
March 20, 2014 1:23 pm

Got to say I agree, for the most part, with Observer. The pro-EU Ukrainians deliberately rocked the boat with the pro-Russian elements in their country after they pushed out Yanukovych with the net result of those elements wanting Russia closer and closer. Pure cause and effect. There is no option now but for the Crimea to fold into Moscow’s sphere of influence. The alternate is likely civil war in the Ukraine…which is a better option in no way, shape or form.

It IS within Moscow’s capability to ease the transition though. This they could do very simply by ‘buying out’ the 20% or so of non-Russophiles in the region. Offer market rates for households or simply a bounty for disgruntled residents to leave and go live happily elsewhere in the country.

In the short term it costs them, maybe into the tens of billions, but if its done on the level and without more coercion than at present its a clear winner for them. They get to secure their new territory, show a commitment to their new citizens and they get to show the international community that they are trying to ‘clever’ their way out of a difficult situation. They immediately invalidate any miltary move by NATO as unprovoked aggression and even gain the ability to say the EU’s economic moves are hurting their ability to resolve the Crimea situation peacefully. Russian soft power, deployed skillfully, could easily give them a no-lose scenario…whether Putin is swift enough to see that is another question.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 20, 2014 1:38 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Russia will face escalating EU sanctions if it does not take ” to ease the crisis over Crimea.

Mrs Merkel, speaking ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, said the current political situation also meant the G8 effectively no longer existed.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26659578

Observer
Observer
March 20, 2014 1:42 pm

@Tubby

Show me the money, or at least the money trail. Just because someone makes a decision people do not like, that is not evidence of corruption or bribery, it just means that he made a decision you do not like. The only time accusations of bribery are justified is when you actually have money changing hands. Besides, Russian money started the revolt? So Russia paid the rebels to take on an anti-Russian stand? Remember, the start point was not Crimea, it was Ukraine.

@ET

Hunting rifles kill just as well as assault rifles. Sometimes even better. And you mistake the point on one side being threatened, it’s more like both parties are heading straight out for a collision.

Besides, if you looked back in history, Crimea was only transferred from Russia to Ukraine in the 50s. No surprise that there are more people there that look upon themselves as Russians rather than Ukrainians. The end result of this is just simply turning back the clock. Safer that way too as the transfer was supposed to breed closer ties with Ukraine and Russia, but if Ukraine was going the other way, best to return the “gift” before it becomes a problem.

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 1:53 pm

Whether Crimea should be part of Russia or not misses the point. There is a pretty key international norm that you don’t start carving up your neighbours and annexing them just because you don’t like the way the government changed.

And I hate to break it to the Russian propagandists but nobody was attacking Russians or preparing genocide, the only armed people threatening others in Crimea were Russian soldiers who had removed their insignia. Even the oft-trumpeted anti-Russian language law was withdrawn.

That is not to say that the EU wasn’t dumb, it was very dumb. It took a bouquet of flowers into a fight against a man with pump-action shotgun and European ultra-liberals have thus learnt an important lesson about hard power. It will of course all be forgotten after a few Owen Jones articles about how evil the West is and how great,in every way, the Putin regime is though.

The takeaway is this, for the second time in six-years the Putin regime has invaded one of its neighbours and annexed part of it, and in doing so this time has set a precedent of self-justification for uninvited involvement in most of its other neighbours should the mood take it.

jonesy
jonesy
March 20, 2014 2:17 pm

Derek,

The simple fact is that this one had a lid on it….however tenuously….until the anti-Russian sentiment started growing post Yanukovych. The language law was a key marker of the way things were going to pan out. From that point the battle lines were being drawn and those of Russian extraction looking to support from Russia was shocking to no-one.

The post Yanukovych regime should have been on the path of unification and integration immediately. Recognising and celebrating the diversity within their borders. The price they’ll now pay is that their borders will be redrawn for them.

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 2:34 pm

Jonesy,

Of course it wasn’t surprising, given the volume of Russian propaganda and agent provocateurs active within Crimea and Eastern Ukraine in general. This pretty standard Russian stuff. I’m not criticising them, they clearly decided on an objective and went after it ruthlessly. Criticism lays with the West for failing to understand that the Putin Regime plays a rather dirtier game than we allow ourselves to.

The point stands though, you don’t start annexing parts of your neighbours countries just because you want to, which is what happened in this case. What the post Yanukovych government should or should not have been doing is irrelevant as they never actually persecuted anybody let alone undertook the genocide that the Russians claimed was coming. The Crimean’s clearly want to be part of Russia and they should have the right to be so, but that should be dealt with without the intervention of Russian troops.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 20, 2014 2:35 pm

Ehmm, Derek, who was it that broke the local ceasefire in the case of Georgia? Just referring to your concluding paragraph, that sums up the ‘reality’.

You may write off contributions like mine and Engineer Tom’s, but you know, when you take a few decades to read up, not just on newspaper headlines and university text books, you will be able to read between the lines, too.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
March 20, 2014 2:46 pm

It is interesting that yes there was turmoil in Ukrainian parliament in the days after the change of government, and a number of the policies voted on when there was no Gov. have since been overturned by the new Gov., but the new Ukrainian Gov. only was put in place on the 27th Feb crucially after Russian forces had seized the Crimean parliament.

They weren’t interested in whether or not the new Gov. was fair or even handed. They had already decided to overturn the Crimean Gov. and put in place a PM whose party won 4% of the vote at the last election. This would then allow them to take over the rest of Crimea without the Crimean Gov. who had till that point supported Kiev interfering.

martin
Editor
March 20, 2014 2:50 pm

@ Observer – I agree that Crimea in Russia probably makes sense all round. Splitting Easter Ukraine off probably also makes sense. I am upset that the EU was trying to do anything in Ukraine in the first place. Personally I don’t want the EU having anything to do with yet another failed Eastern European state we already have more than enough.

None of this is what bothers me. What bothers me is a smug arrogant gangster in the Kremlin who has thrown off any hint of democracy in his own country and invaded another one. When we break it down it really is that simple.

He has made us look weak and foolish and it really is the thin end of the wedge. I really do fear for what comes next because I just can’t see what would make him stop at Crimea.

Putin and his entire country need put in their place with a good slapping but I just can’t see anyone in the west and certainly not Obama having the b**ls to do it.

Its almost embarrassing looking at Russia militarily and economically compared to NATO. But for all our money and military we lack will and Putin understands that now much better than he did last week. He will keep pushing now until eventually he does cross a red line and things get very bad very fast.

The really annoying thing is that Putin has already lost the war. He has lost Ukraine probably forever and I can bet few EU nations will be taking any Russian gas in a decade. But I wonder if Putin really knows this. I use to think he was a c**t but a smart one. Now I just think he is a thug.

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 3:05 pm

ACC,

Putting your childish insults, and thus implicit admission of ignorance, aside. Yup, the Georgians started a war they were not going to win in a breakaway republic, but the Russians then invaded the entire country, destroyed its military infrastructure and seized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia even more decisively than it had before. And it clearly set a precedent for the Crimean operation, Dmitry Medvedev even wrote a piece in the FT in shortly after the war in 2008 making it perfectly clear that Russia claims a duty of care, which it is prepared to enforce with force of arms, to all Russians within the 14 lost republics. Russian’s in Crimea were not in immediate danger and were not in need of protection, the Putin regime annexed it anyway.

Observer
Observer
March 20, 2014 3:20 pm

Unfortunately martin, I think that the Western media has been fighting the Cold War too long and tend to look at Russia with a jaundiced eye. If not for the media drum beating, I doubt anyone would have found what he did wrong. You guys just call it “intervention”. Which we have already wrote oodles and oodles of pages about. And strangely enough, not about Russian intervention units but British ones.

The situation in Ukraine can be seen in another way. Rebels overthrow a government by force and demands control over loyalist Crimea who are resisting heroically. Damn, couldn’t keep a straight face on that last line, but the point is there. Rebels did overthrow a government by force, Crimea refuses to participate and joins Russia instead. Remember, are the people from Crimea protesting Russian intervention? Or is it the Ukrainians who stand to gain the land if the intervention and later treaties were repealed? Cu Bono?

Derek, is it annexation if the people request it? Or is it invitation?

Just because you dislike someone does not mean he is always wrong. In this case, I can’t see Putin being charged with anything if he was invited in. He just happened to bring along a lot of guns and tanks for his “friends”.

Currently, the situation is about as good as it gets, lets not cause more problems by rocking the boat. Ukraine goes West, Crimea goes East.

And playing with mirror viewpoints, I wonder if the Russian man in the street is complaining that Ukraine rebels are being paid to revolt by US dollars, after all, the “West” now gains a large chunk of critical ex-USSR territory. Russia is also going to have to expand their food production now that Ukraine is now persona non grata.

a
a
March 20, 2014 3:26 pm

I think that the Western media has been fighting the Cold War too long and tend to look at Russia with a jaundiced eye

Speaking for the Western media, we tend to get a bit jaundiced about people who go around irradiating the places where we have lunch.

Observer
Observer
March 20, 2014 3:27 pm

@a

You might want to give Japan a pass then. :P

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
March 20, 2014 3:33 pm

@ Observer

The Russians were only invited after they had seized the Crimean parliament, the existing Gov was sacked and a pro Russian PM whose party only won 3 seats in the last election was ‘elected’ by the Crimean parliament in a closed session whilst Russian soldiers were in the building.

Previous to this happening the Crimean parliament had said they would abide by what the Ukrainian parliament was doing.

Regards anti Russian protests in Crimea, they did happen but early on the leaders were detained and militias attacked peaceful protestors (women standing holding signs were pushed into a road and nearly run down), so they pretty quickly stopped.

And talking about a media drumbeat, yes the US media is biased etc. (UK not so much), but have you watched RT lately, disscussion panels where everyone is pro russian, where is the oppossing view, and if they do have an opposing view, it is very much along the lines of yes military action is wrong but it is all the EU’s fault.

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 3:47 pm

Observer,

Dislike Putin? Never met the guy, so its difficult to say either way. He seems to be pretty intelligent and enjoy shooting and other outdoor activities though so might be my kind of guy. You really should stop with the silly assumptions.

Russian troops were not invited, they just turned up, although according to Putin they actually didn’t turn up at all….

“Critical ex-USSR territory”, what does that even mean? These are sovereign countries, whether they are former Soviet Republics is neither here nor there, they have every right to self-determination without Russian armour rolling round their territory and if that means they choose to join the EU or NATO Russia should accept that. Equally, if they want to join Russia the “West” should accept that- but the process should not be based on the armed violation of a sovereign nations territorial integrity on the demonstrably false premise that one regions inhabitants need “protection”.

Observer
Observer
March 20, 2014 3:57 pm

ET, so the man in the street IS blaming the West. As some in the west are blaming Russian money. :)

Some things are universal it seems.

As for Ukraine getting Crimea back, I don’t think they have a chance, nor should they. It’s obvious that both sides are going in different directions and chaining one to the other is going to cause nothing but pain all around. Played right, they can even come out ahead. Recognition of Crimea for entry into EU and the pre-agreed trade concessions. They lose something that they would never be able to hold for material benefits and a smooth transition.

wf
wf
March 20, 2014 4:13 pm

@Observer: you have *got* to be joking. The Western media is still fighting the Cold War? Au contraire, they’ve spent the last twenty years shouting at anyone who was even slightly cautious about cutting defense spending as “Cold War warriors”.

Simon258
Simon258
March 20, 2014 4:17 pm

Since the end of the USSR, Russia has been repeatedly assured that NATO would not come east. But yet it has done so. So to has the EU Empire. Lord Heseltine, when speaking on the BBC’s Question Time two weeks ago, said that the Russians have long memories, and they remember that Napoleon came from the West, so to did Hitler!

Rightly or wrongly Russia sees another hostile Empire coming from the west! And is acting accordingly! If we threaten to bankrupt Russia through sanctions, as some hawks are suggesting, we will start WW3!

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 4:26 pm

Simon258,

That is just a standard rehashing of the argument that states the former Soviet Republics and Warsaw Pact countries can not be considered true sovereign states because it may upset the Russians. The Warsaw pact countries and former soviet republics escaped the Russian Empire, they are sovereign states and they have a right to join whatever club they want to join and that wants to accept them. Russia’s “fear” is more a product of its inability to properly integrate itself with the rest of the world than it is a rational analysis of reality. I am no fan of the EU but it is rather absurd to suggest it plans to invade Russia.

Observer
Observer
March 20, 2014 4:38 pm

Derek, but do the Russians know that?

It’s cold comfort to get shot because you wanted to give someone a scare by going “BOO!”. You think it’s a prank, the other guy acts like it is an attack. Same thing here, the EU does not want to head east, but what does Russia think and what does it intend to about it?

Look up Able Archer 83 to see how misunderstandings can escalate.

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 4:49 pm

The EU can accept new members wherever it wants, it does not need Russia’s permission unless it actually wants Russia to join.

And to be clear, the EU is not invading anyone and Russia does not think the EU is invading anyone so the Able Archer reference is just hyperbole of the highest order.

Jed
Jed
March 20, 2014 5:04 pm

Wow, Martin, just wow……

“The reality of the situation is that Russia has done something that was almost unthinkable in the post 1945 world. It has shattered a prolonged period of peace and opened up a can of worms that could one day end in Nuclear war…”

I don’t have a clue how you stretch this out into a nuclear conflict, but so far you have one Ukrainian and one Crimean (or really Russian) dead – 2, just 2 that we know off. What is the total death toll of Afgahnistan and Iraq ?

Have you spoken to any Ukrainians on this subject ? I commute back and forth to work with a lovely guy called Victor, ex-Soviet army, from North East Ukraine. He says most Ukrainian’s dont give a flying frak about the Crimea, but would simply want security guarantees of the welfare of the ethnic Ukrainian minority who want to stay and live there. This is more akin to the Balkans or Northern Ireland. Basically Kruschev frakked up during the soviet era by putting the Crimea back into the “state” of Ukraine. Now people are paying for that mistake….. Victor takes the position most Anglophobe Canadians would take on Quebecois independence: “bye bye, hope it works out for you, don’t come running back when it doesn’t”.

However the pathetic lack of ‘real politik” and the way western politicians have dealt with the dick that is Putin is a different matter; but is Russia a direct military threat to NATO ? Nope I dont think so. A potential cyber, terror, economic threat as their economy and social conditions continue to deteriorate ? Most definitely.

But leading us down a path to nuclear war……… wtf ?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 20, 2014 5:26 pm

Derek,

“The takeaway is this, for the second time in six-years the Putin regime has invaded one of its neighbours”

” Just referring to your concluding paragraph, that sums up the ‘reality’.”

“Yup, the Georgians started a war they were not going to win in a breakaway republic”

“Putting your childish insults, and thus implicit admission of ignorance, aside.”

I am afraid, Derek, that you are the child here. And ignorance comes with it. That does not matter, though.
– What does matter is that as things had been judged to have settled down and the “environment” to be benevolent, all the best brains had therefore been assigned “to more important matters” than those in Europe. As a result, we have kids like you running around in the corridors of power (… like headless chicken, which has already been observed, to my disdain, and I am not the only one).

Observer
Observer
March 20, 2014 6:22 pm

Gee thanks, unfortunately the only thing I can return for your praise “of the highest order” is to admire your parochialism of the lowest order.

No wonder people accuse you of trolling.

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 6:29 pm

Observer,

I prefer focussed, but will accept parochial.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
March 20, 2014 7:38 pm

Just come across another incentive for Russia, they have given the Ukrainian military, in Crimea, two options quit or return to Ukraine proper, sounds sort of fair, until you hear the bit where they aren’t allowed to take any equipment with them. This means the Russian navy has captured half the Ukrainian navy and is looking to absorb it, a cheap way of Naval expansion.

Tubby
Tubby
March 20, 2014 8:01 pm

@Observer Re: Bribes

*sigh* that is what you get when you type a message too quickly – the”bribe” I was referring to was the Russian deal that caused this whole mess – i.e. on the edge of signing a deal with the EU the surprise announcement that Ukraine was turning to Russia. Therefore Russia did cause the protests, because they knew absolutely that he majority, albeit slim, wanted the EU deal to go ahead. It is analogous (and I apologies if this analogy doesn’t work for you as it very UK specific) to UKIP getting into power, and then not only refusing to hold a referendum on EU membership, but actually adopting the Euro. The fact that Russia was so quick to seize the Crimea shows that this was a pre-planned action. Sadly it also exposed the blindness of the UK and the West, as while I am sure we expected Russia to hold onto the Crimea we expected economic and political means for them to achieve it rather than a military land grab.

To be honest I think the whole pro-Russia line on a lot of blogs and as seen in comments on news stories on our newspaper websites shows a PR victory for the Russian narrative, as they have cast the whole thing a coup of nasty neo-nazi’s when it would be fairer to say it was a revolution by the electorate against a leadership that made decision against what they wanted and expected, and quite frankly there is not enough anger about it in the UK, and I for one look forward to writing “told you so” in a decade or so when the Russian’s push into a part of Europe that we will fight over.

Z
Z
March 20, 2014 8:09 pm

I’ve noticed that since the current Crimea annexation process started there has been frequent reference to the relatively recent transfer of Crimea to Ukraine from Russia in 1954 > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_transfer_of_Crimea but hardly any mention that when Ukraine had a referendum to declare independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, there was not only a 92% vote in support nationally but also a majority vote in every Oblast (administrative unit) throughout Ukraine, including Crimea (admittedly only by a small majority) > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_independence_referendum,_1991 This overwhelming vote for independence by Ukraine effectively was the death knell of the Soviet Union. Given the ethnic demographic composition of the eastern & southern parts of Ukraine it also means that many ethnic Russians supported Ukrainian independence at the time.

as
as
March 20, 2014 8:20 pm

Russia now plans to ‘unleash full blown military intervention’ across Ukraine warns ambassador as militiamen seize land… and now water with the storming of three navy vessels

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2585063/Besieged-Ukrainian-soldiers-DEFECT-Russia-Kiev-prepares-pull-25-000-troops-families-Crimea.html

The Ukrainians are trying to evacuate it personnel but they will not be aloud to take there equipment with them.

as
as
March 20, 2014 8:29 pm

Ukraine to hold joint military exercises with U.S. and Britain after announcing troop withdrawal from Crimea

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2584693/Ukraine-hold-joint-military-exercises-U-S-Britain-announcing-troop-withdrawal-Crimea.html

In a lot of way it is now looking like this war will not happen. Ukraine will never trust the west again. it can not trust the Russians so they are isolated and on there own.
The Russians will not give the equipment they have captured back. that will cost the Ukrainians to perches replacements. The Russians have let coast guard vessels leave though.

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 8:38 pm

ET,

I doubt the Russians have much interest in acquiring Ukrainian naval power, there is not much of it to acquire and they have been scheming their own dramatic increase in Black Sea naval forces for a while with the first of six new Kilos arriving late last year and the first new frigate floated out in its Kaliningrad construction yard just a few days ago. I however doubt they are disappointed by the opportunity to largely remove one naval player from the Black Sea.

Observer
Observer
March 20, 2014 8:55 pm

Z, that picture of the vote demographics is the most outstanding example that Crimea and Ukraine are almost totally different in terms of mindset. 80-90%+ approval in all of Ukraine, 54% only in Crimea. 80%+ voter turnout in the rest of Ukraine, 60% for Crimea. 13% maximum No votes for the rest of Ukraine 43% No votes for Crimea. It’s like two totally different populations. As for support of independence, looking at Crimea specifically, it was a close run thing then (who knows how the other 40% would have voted), but after 2 decades of living under Ukraine, the vote seems to have swung the other way. Need to check this though, won’t put it past Russia to tweak the votes a little.

Tubby, ah got it, not a personal level bribe then, but an economic deal. Got to note those little small details. When you fight with a neighbour, it’s a “domestic dispute”. When countries fight with each other, it’s a “war”. People get bribes, countries get “economic deals” and “MFN status”. :) Pity, it really was a good deal for Ukraine financially, just that the people could not accept it emotionally.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 20, 2014 9:15 pm

I think (hope!) that my discussion with Derek has come to an end. With trolling I meant the early uses of the word, which I would interpret to include the use of deliberate (=admitted) lies to influence the direction that the discussion takes. So with a wiki definition I will move on, to summarise a little bit on what has been on the various threads on the topic. Apologies for the length of the quote:
“The origin of the English noun troll in the standard sense of ugly dwarf or giant dates to 1610 and comes from the Old Norse word ‘troll’ meaning giant or demon.[18] The word evokes the trolls of Scandinavian folklore and children’s tales, where they are at times beings bent on mischief and wickedness.[19]
[…]

Early non-Internet related slang use of trolling for actions deliberately performed to provoke a reaction can be found in the military—by 1972 the term trolling for MiGs was documented in use by US Navy pilots in Vietnam.”

Now: I agree 100% with this recent statement
“jonesy March 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Derek,

The simple fact is that this one had a lid on it….however tenuously….until the anti-Russian sentiment started growing post Yanukovych. The language law was a key marker of the way things were going to pan out. From that point the battle lines were being drawn and those of Russian extraction looking to support from Russia was shocking to no-one.

The post Yanukovych regime should have been on the path of unification and integration immediately. Recognising and celebrating the diversity within their borders. The price they’ll now pay is that their borders will be redrawn for them.”

Martin @2:50, cuts to the core of it:
“What bothers me is a smug arrogant gangster in the Kremlin who has thrown off any hint of democracy in his own country and invaded another one. When we break it down it really is that simple. ”

As I said earlier, a wounded bear is dangerous and TD puts the right detail around that. Whether the wounds are real, or just in the pride (including a perceived threat that is steadily growing, despite having been a “good guy” and playing along). The good guy here of course refers to Russia in totality. The securocrats have marginalised the folks who are at the forefront for economic and political reform. To a degree where you get to see a former Deputy Prime Minister manning the barricades in a “Do Not Grab Ukraine” protest.
– hard to see our Nick having to do that after the next election, under any circumstances

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 20, 2014 9:16 pm

“Pro-Russian politicians and activists in Moldova’s breakaway Trans-Dniester region have asked the Russian parliament to draft a law that would allow their territory to join Russia.

The Trans-Dniestrian appeal comes as Moscow moves towards absorbing Crimea into the Russian Federation. Ukraine, the EU and US say that move is illegal.

Russian loyalists dominate Trans-Dniester, with support from Moscow.

The region split from Moldova in a war in 1991-92, as the USSR was collapsing.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26627236

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 20, 2014 9:27 pm

“In one 2012 survey more than 90 percent of respondents in the west and 70-plus percent in the east considered themselves “a patriot of Ukraine.” Even in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, only 2 percent rejected this description definitively. Another poll, conducted Feb. 8-18, found that virtually nobody in western Ukraine wanted Ukraine to unite with Russia, and in central Ukraine between 2 and 5 percent did. Moving east, the numbers rose only to 15 percent in the Kharkiv region; 24 percent in Luhansk and Odessa; 33 percent in Donetsk; and 41 percent in Crimea.”

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/opinion/ukraine-not-ready-for-divorce.html?_r=0&referrer=

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 9:30 pm

ACC,

The status of your discussion with me is entirely in your hands. Your accusations of trolling being an obvious demonstration of your lack of knowledge, further reinforced by your now quoting of already refuted statements.

There was no threat to Russians in the Ukraine, it does not matter how much you anted there to be one there was not. The massed hordes of genocidal neo-Nazis apparently ready to slaughter ethnic Russians simply didn’t exist and as has been pointed out the pro-Russian regime in Crimea was itself the product of a rather curious coup orchestrated on the 27th February. But hey, this is TD where facts are optional and there always insults to fall back on.

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 9:32 pm

Swimming Trucks,

You really must stop posting facts, they are frowned upon here. If you continue ACC or Observer will be forced to call you a Troll, a Wiki-Warrior or some other enlightened demonstration of their righteousness.

Repulse
March 20, 2014 9:36 pm
Jonathan
Jonathan
March 20, 2014 9:42 pm

The thing that sticks out for me is how close the ego politics are the the inter war period. Very over simplified comparison but:

1) end of First World War leads to the collapse of the European multi ethnic empires – end of Cold War collapse of USSR ( multi cultural empire)
2) this leads to the creation of a number of nation states containing minority ethnic groups from one or more other nation states. German peoples and towns in countries outside greater Germany- Russian peoples and populations outside of Russia.
3) nationalism fueled by the shame of defeat Germany 1920s -1930s-Russia post Cold War
4) war weary western lib nations disarm/ fail to rearm at a time if financial crisis, shamed nations above rearms 1930-2010
5) Germany annexation of Sudetenland to protect a German population- Russia and the news today

Does history repeat itself or can we learn a lesson ?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 20, 2014 9:47 pm

Derek,

What substance have you been taking if you attribute this to me “There was no threat to Russians in the Ukraine, it does not matter how much you anted there to be one there was not.”

And as for refuted statements, you refuted your own. Or is it the famous “the statement is inoperative” now that you have been caught?

I think you have been reading a bit too much. Take a rest, and try to get it all ordered (the minimum: attribute correctly).

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 20, 2014 10:04 pm

@ Jonathan,

A very good parallel.

Now, if only the defence dollars/ pounds/ euros were spent better, were could one see a problem? SIPRI says about military spending that while the USA and Russia are on par with %’s of GDP (2012 figures below, in $ bn), Russia manages only 13% of the US spend (and also against the European NATO aggregate lags far behind):

1 (1)
USA
682

2 (2)
China
166, with a corrected figure much higher

3 (3)
Russia
90.7

Derek
Derek
March 20, 2014 10:29 pm

ACC,

I never attributed that statement to you, I was merely giving a narrative (hence no quotation marks) and I have not refuted myself. Nice try though.

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
March 20, 2014 10:31 pm

The Russians did what Russians do. They bully the weak. I was in Germany when the wall fell and Germany reunited…with GSFG/WGF still intact and in the former East Germany. With the “weak” East merging with the “strong” West which had powerful allies in country (Yes, even the BAOR) the Soviet Forces (Russians) were on their best behavior and withdrew peacefully.

What may have encouraged Putin in the Russian action of “stealing” Crimea was the perceived (and I believe very real) weakness of the President of the United States.

Elm Creek Smith
Elm Creek Smith
March 20, 2014 10:44 pm

– Given the optempo of UK and American forces in Afghanistan, I’m not surprised that the Apache AH.1’s (AH-64D Block 1) are showing their age. Since the UK already has experience with the AH-64D, it only makes sense to continue operating the same type. I guess you could always take the USMC option of buying the AH-1Z Venom (upgraded Cobra), but that would be a step back.

Maybe you could buy Russian?

Obsvr
Obsvr
March 21, 2014 1:51 am

Crimea seems to be the only region of Ukraine where ethnic Russians are a majority. The only other region with a lot of Russians but not a majority, is Donetz, and it is only one region of East Ukraine. One you get into W Ukraine most of the regions have more ethnic Poles than Russians.

The problem is that the Russians have been expanding westwards for a long time, but the rot really set in after the Treaty of Vienna when Poland was carved up, mostly to Russia but also to Austro-Hungary and Prussia. In 1772 Kiev was on the border between Poland and Russia. Poland re-emerged in 1918 from Prussia, Russia and Austro-Hungary, but still with borders well west of previously. Then in 1939 Poland was ‘disappeared’ by Germany and USSR, the lovely chums Hitler and Stalin, in 1945 the new Poland was well west of previously.

The Chinese are amusing, having previously blethered at length about territorial integrity they are now keeping quiet, not forgetting Russia’s attitude to the referendum in Kosovo! Perhaps a case of ‘straight’ referenda bad, shonky ones good!

The Ukranians have suffered from Russia, the mass famines of the 1930s being an example. Not forgetting that post 1945 there as active Ukrainian resistance to USSR that lasted in to the 1950s and was suppressed by several NKVD divisions, invites the question as to whether adding Crimea to Ukraine was related to this. Then remember the issue of the Ukranians captured serving with the Wehrmarcht and their return in 1945. All this makes it abundantly clear that Russian imperialism is strongly rejected in the region.

Observer
Observer
March 21, 2014 2:36 am

Is Putin taking control of Ukraine? Or only Crimea? There is a difference, one that people seem to forget. He has support in Crimea, not in Ukraine. Conversely he’s NOT taking control over the rest of Ukraine where the people don’t want him. You do realise that if he was out to annex everything by force, the rest of Ukraine can’t really stop him? His motivations are more complex than that. My guess is that it is actually more of a racial political play than a geo-political one, boosting his local standing by “saving” his fellow Russians.

http://img.rtvslo.si/upload/Svet/putin-pilot_show.jpg

He has always tried to portray himself as a man of action. Crimea was probably PR for him, “Putin, Man of Action” and “Putin the Diplomat”. It’s not as obvious to us because we’re probably not his main audience. There might also be a streak of racism thrown in supporting “his” Russians from the Ukrainans. Either way, this split is probably a good place to stop at. Both sides get what they want in the end, except for Ukraine retaining control over Crimea. Good enough to work with for now.

Martin
Editor
March 21, 2014 5:51 am

@ Jed – My point on nuclear war was not so much a NATO vs Russia conflict although if he keeps pushing which I think he will then it may one day become a possibility but rather among other nations.

Now it has become clear that an aggressor can simply re draw borders with little or no retribution as long as A) they do enough business with the west and B) they have a nuclear arsenal, how long will it be until other countries decide they too need nuclear weapons. Japan and South Korea would seem like likely candidates. Saudi Arabia as well. where will that process end.

It really gets me peoples comparing Iraq and Afghanistan to Crimea. The simple fact is that right or wrong in the invasion their was no question that we would leave once it was done.

Martin
Editor
March 21, 2014 6:06 am

@ Observer

I bet if the UK invaded Malaysia (I believe the Uk is entitled to do under the original Malaysian constitution) we could could easily organise a referendum and get the people to vote for it.

This would be an annexation and the referendum especially held at the barrel of a gun would not make it right.

Its easy to say Putin will stop at Crimea and he will only go where he has support but when he fixes the ballot as he did in Crimea then half of Eastern Europe could fall into this category. All he needs are some Russian speakers to make trouble and job done.

Observer
Observer
March 21, 2014 8:44 am

Martin, that kind of referendum is just causing trouble for yourself. Sooner or later you’ll have to pull the troops back, you can’t station your forces there for eternity, your people would want to go home. And once the pressure is off, all the separatist movements you’ve been sweeping under the rug will all start popping out. That is not including the fact that even force has not stopped people from armed protest before. Think current day Syria. Any rebels may not be winning, but the fact that they are fighting can’t be covered up. If the referendum is a fake, we’ll soon see resistance groups sprouting. Just have to wait and watch for the explosions.

Besides, it’s all a chain of events building up to this point, hardly a single step problem. I suspect any attempt to annex Malaysia would have to follow a similar chain of disasters too. And you’re welcome to them. :)

While unilateral sanctions are possible for the US and EU, I’m not sure if there is enough support to get UN sanctions against Russia. I believe I’m fairly neutral about this case, and if I can’t see Putin doing anything too badly wrong, you’re going to have a hard time convincing other neutral parties to support you. Much less China who loves to stick their votes where it hurts.

Derek
Derek
March 21, 2014 9:31 am

Observer,

As has been pointed out to you multiple times there is not a difference. Crimea was part of an independent Ukraine, it had been since a referendum and treaty in the 1990s. Then Russian forces invaded it and held a referendum on their own terms through what was clearly a puppet Ukrainian government. The excuse making is getting tiresome now.

Derek
Derek
March 21, 2014 10:00 am

TD,

This instance is black and white. There are a series of international norms (not to mention a treaty, to which Russia is a signatory, specifically guaranteeing Ukrainian territorial integrity in return for Ukraine not having nuclear weapons) which make it very clear that states should not go about annexing bits of their neighbours with military force just because they want to. Whether the people of Crimea want to be part of Russia is a separate issue that should have been solved without the use of Russian troops- the way the UK is dealing with the Scottish problem being a good example. The issue is the invasion and annexation of Crimea with false justification and the shredding of international law. There are no inconvenient shades.

jonesy
jonesy
March 21, 2014 10:14 am

Derek,

Once again “states should not go about annexing bits of their neighbours with military force just because they want to” is inaccurate. Russia responded to calls for support from elements in Ukraine….not, unless you believe the tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, because they ‘wanted to’.

You have stated your opinion several times that no direct threat existed towards pro-Russians in Ukraine after the the deposing of Yanukovych, but, you are missing the import of actions like the removal of recognition of Russian as an official language. Actions like that, from a central government that hadn’t even got its economics policy in order yet, was a clear indication of the way that the wind was blowing for the pro-Russian elements of that society. Essentially the new authority set out a course, irrevocably, away from integration and inclusion. Against that backdrop I cant say I blame the pro-Russian elements for looking around for support. If you can’t see the level of concern that a step like that would generate I’d suggest that you may need to expand your frame of reference a little.

The issue is not one of ‘let the wookie win’ but it is one of ‘if you live next door to a wookie dont take the piss out of his family’.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 11:34 am

The Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said that a possible decision to suspend the contract about BPCs would be taken at the time of delivery of the first BPC, the Vladivostok. That is to say not until October. And again “provided that it is in a set of measures that could be taken including at European level”
That is to say BPCs will be sold if the Germans take equivalent measures in terms of price.

Topman
Topman
March 21, 2014 11:38 am

I don’t normally get involved with the knock about debates, however I do think Derek has a point. You don’t go invading other countries on no real reason other than you can. It may well have happened before, doesn’t make it right.

Observer
Observer
March 21, 2014 11:59 am

Actually Top, it’s a heap lot more complicated than that. The ousted ex-President/President/open to lots of debate of the Ukraine asked for Russian aid. So in short, you have 2 Ukranian governments, both having claims to legitimacy vying for power. The current government is a “rebel” faction that came to power through violence, but is recognised by the West and has popular support, the ousted government is a legitimate power who came in through an election but corrupt and venal. No choirboys in that lot. Russia’s actions can be said to be legitimate depending on who you see as the true government of Ukraine. If they came in by the old President’s request for aid, then it is actually in line with the law. This split does remind me of Taiwan and China a few decades back.

jonesy, forget it, he’s not flexible to consider any ideas other than his own, lacking in empathy to see situations from another’s POV and narcissistic enough to be unable to separate the difference between his opinions from hard facts, hence why he treats his utterances as Gospel without seeing the need for links and attribution. I simply skip his posts now as opinions without basis.

That is the polite version. The rude one has mention of rabies in it.

The funny version is that he’s the Putin of TD. Expert at pissing people off. I count 4 that he took a piss on already (Phil, Dave H, ACC and I)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 21, 2014 12:12 pm

I must admit that I started the ball rolling, but as this guy clearly is on a continuum, I give up and will skip his posts in the future… After all, this is a hobby for fun, not an educational enterprise.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 12:17 pm

I don’t want to interfere in your discussion, but make war against Russia is madness, nobody has ever defeated the Russian in their territory, Napoleon and Hitler have broken their teeth with the most powerful armies of the time, we are doing wars that we can gain, the rest is literature and politicians gesticulations.

Topman
Topman
March 21, 2014 12:41 pm

I know it is complicated, still isn’t right.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 12:43 pm

I said gain, i want to say win, this is the same word in french, sorry.

Simon257
Simon257
March 21, 2014 12:58 pm

Topman

The former president of the Ukraine only suspended the deal with the EU, so that he could look at the Russian offer. He never walked away from it completely. That’s when this all started.

http://www.euractiv.com/global-europe/ukraine-stuns-eu-putting-associa-news-531873

And it really did not help when the EU and Russia persuaded the Former Government of Ukraine and the opposition to hold early elections only for the former President to be overthrown 24 hours later!

Well, Putin has annexed the Crimea.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101488951

And the EU has signed the association deal with Ukraine
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26680250

As Putin looks to China to sell his gas.
http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/03/20/3542254/putin-nurtures-ties-with-china.html

These videos are a few days old, both show Russian Military trains heading to the area.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mV6mPLZ-_IU
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lZL9jg8-ePI

Derek
Derek
March 21, 2014 1:09 pm

Jonesey,

Its not inaccurate at all, in fact its entirely accurate. Unmarked Russian troops appeared in Crimea prior to any serious request for “protection” and the Crimean government that did eventually call for such protection was installed in what can only be called a coup, probably undertaken by Russian agent-provocateurs.

Finally, the new Kiev authority is an interim government pending fresh elections- hardly a harbinger of future policy.

ACC, Observer,

Glad to see the usual fall back position of spewing insults when facts make your musings unsustainable.

jonesy
jonesy
March 21, 2014 1:19 pm

Derek,

You are trying to use specifics to obfuscate the wider fact and its not working. What you refuse to accept is that the actions of the new Kiev regime….before any external involvement of any kind….were antagonistic towards the pro-Russian element of Ukranian society. That is indisputable. It happened.

That was glaringly stupid when Russia is sat next door with a vested interest in the status quo of the Ukraine. Endex.

Topman
Topman
March 21, 2014 1:25 pm

@ Simon 257

I’m not sure what your trying to tell me?

dave haine
dave haine
March 21, 2014 1:34 pm

@ Observer

Derek has indeed tried to target me, but I find him risible, so it really doesn’t have much effect on me- I rather think of him as one of those loud, self-opinionated teenagers, who having read a little on the subject is now an acknowledged expert. One of those children that you wish someone had just said ‘shush’ to once or twice.

The real shame is that sometimes he has the glimmerings of insight- I just wish he would perhaps read more widely, and impose some critical thinking on his ideas, and maybe tone down the hyperbole and rhetoric.

But in the end an opinion is only an opinion.

Observer
Observer
March 21, 2014 1:36 pm

Top, it’s a really grey area, not just “isn’t right”. I once put an alternate scenario, but using Germany as an example. Compare your visceral reaction to that vs the Russian scenario.

Ex-East Germans, tired of bailing out Greece, Spain and Portugal and yearning for a return to “an East without parasites”, storms the German Parliament and forces Merkel to flee. They declare themselves the new government of Germany, secedes and calls to Russia for an alliance. Merkel calls to the other EU members for military aid in regaining control of Germany.

Is it right for the UK to intervene?

PS: Top, think Simon is trying to show that the entire situation is the result of a cascade reaction. Aka a bloody big mess.

Derek
Derek
March 21, 2014 1:41 pm

Jonsey,

No, I am using facts (you call them specifics) to point out that certain peoples narratives are incorrect, that is the opposite of obfuscation. The language law is a key example of this, whilst passed by a slim majority of deputies it was never signed into law by the acting president. It was also only a repealing a law first passed in August 2012, barely 18 months old, and only a replay of an ongoing petty struggle in Ukraine over languages. It certainly did not justify an armed Russian invasion and a Russian orchestrated coup in Crimea.

Derek
Derek
March 21, 2014 1:47 pm

Observer,

If you want to use fictional comparisons at least try and make them comparable. Your East Germany version being a long way short of the mark.

David Haine,

When you show evidence of doing any reading (and crucially comprehension) I might consider taking your advice but in the mean time it is clear that I am far better informed than you.

Topman
Topman
March 21, 2014 1:48 pm

I’m not sure I’d describe my thoughts as ‘visceral’, but anyhow. Indeed it’s a complex situation, but many world events are.
We can use the events leading upto the outcome to form an opinion. Mine is one, as above, that simply it’s not on. Others may find it acceptable or that the ends justify the means, fair enough. But not me.

Observer
Observer
March 21, 2014 1:58 pm

Well, it’s more “overthrowing an established government sets a bad precedent” rather than “end justifies the means”. One of the reasons why I think China will vote against. They have a vested interest in not setting examples for intervention, and are a bit of “official government structure” junkies.

When Tarksin (Thailand) was ousted in a bloodless coup, the media was all over it singing the military’s praises. I told my friend there and then, “Bloodless coup? No, it’s just that the blood has not started flowing yet.” Hopefully Ukraine will avoid that fate, they seem to be a lot more unified than the Thais and ironically, having the big Russian bear on the border actually helps unify the country. Nothing focuses the mind better than the prospect of being hung. :)

Sometimes, “revolution” just doesn’t help things, that is why they call it revolution. Comes round and round again and again.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 2:00 pm

It is an open secret, Putin is mad, he wants to rebuild the empire of the Tsars, he has made the war in Georgia, he is trying to conquer a part of Ukraine, tomorrow it will be the Central Asia, we can’t do anything except watch. For its part China will be the economic and military world leader, EU and the United States will be only medium power, the world leans to the East.

Observer
Observer
March 21, 2014 2:02 pm

Frenchy, then we can support Russia’s referendum and get on their good side early so we can get better deals in the future!

Hey, it is a valid tactic. :)

Simon257
Simon257
March 21, 2014 2:03 pm

@ Topman

As Observer points out this is extremely grey area, both Ukrainian sides are as bad as each other, frankly!

The Russian’s thought they had a deal, negotiated jointly with the EU and both Ukrainian sides, on holding early elections, thus defusing the situation! But within 24hrs, the democratically elected President, though Corrupt and even worse incompetent had been overthrown. I bet Putin thought he had been played! But when the new government banned the use of Russian as an official language that probably was the last straw that has led to this current situation!

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 2:08 pm

I’m agree with Simon.

Derek
Derek
March 21, 2014 2:10 pm

Simon 247,

The Russian language was never banned, the law was not signed.

jonesy
jonesy
March 21, 2014 2:15 pm

Derek,

Again you’re trying to use a point of fact to obfuscate the wider ramification of that fact and its simply myopic. This time you actually state that the language law was passed with a majority. Do you think the finer points of whether it was ratified or not make any difference whatsoever?. Do you think that those nervous of the course their country would take, and the impact it would have on them and their families, with pro-Western authorities would give two hoots about the size of the majority or the exact status of the President at the time?. They’d see one of the first acts of a new regime being to undermine their place in the wider Ukrainian society…you must surely see that?.

That the issue of language had been bubbling along for years is also a factor….but not how you think…the issue would have continued to bubble on further at a sub-critical mass for years. There was no need for the new regime to raise so divisive an issue so quickly and actively widen the gap between the pro- and anti- Russian factions in the country.

Face it. The new Ukrainian authority chose, deliberately, to poke a segment of its Russian-supported population with a legislative sharp and pointy stick. Presumably the did so under the belief that they could run and hide behind NATO’s skirts if the Russians took the stick off them and threatened to ram it up their backsides. To me now the Ukranians need to learn a lesson in how to play nicely with others. They will get this by losing Crimea on the basis of self-determination of the people of the Crimea not on the decrees of Kiev.

If Russia steps foot beyond Crimea and seeks to occupy those regions of the Ukraine that are pro-Western then that is a different issue and the difference between the two instances needs very clear definition for Putin. You go this far and no further. Other than that Ukraine is reaping a whirlwind of its own making, will feel some pain from it and, hopefully, will come away much the wiser.

Topman
Topman
March 21, 2014 2:22 pm

@ Simon 257

They may well be as bad as each other, I just feel it was their problem to solve. Annexing part of the Ukraine isn’t an acceptable outcome to me. Without going round in circles and repeating myself, the issue is; is the situation what we have now acceptable in international norms ? Not to me.
Other think different, I’ll leave my part in this there.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 21, 2014 2:38 pm

RE “Face it. The new Ukrainian authority chose, deliberately, to poke a segment of its Russian-supported population with a legislative sharp and pointy stick. ”

I don’t think he can… Just because he has made up his mind, and tries to retrofit facts accordingly.
One Derek is neither here or there, but the mindset epitomised by him is very dangerous. You see what you want to see.
– My real criticism has been that western policy making in this mess has been a step or two behind all the time – exactly for that reason.

From the way Derek writes I can see that he has never served in the armed forces of any country. Because of the policy making errors we are evidensing I am afraid that many who never thought they would (again, if conscripted in the past) will get the opportunity.

Simon257
Simon257
March 21, 2014 2:39 pm

Derek

No, the law allowing the use of the Russian Language and others I might add, was repealed/suspended by the interim government on taking power!

http://www.ibtimes.com/watch-your-tongue-language-controversy-one-fundamental-conflicts-ukraine-1559069

Topman
You are absolutely right, it isn’t acceptable. However my real worry is that this will spiral out of control. This could make the break up of the former Yugoslavia look like a walk in the park!

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 2:50 pm

@Observer
Putin is here, the situation is what it is, the world does not suit us, change the world? It does not work like that, you have to adapt and see.
As long as the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Russia and China have the nuclear bomb, it will happen nothing untoward, it is the balance of power, so doing business between us.
Otherwise, we can attack China about Tibet, Russia about Ukraine, Turkey about Cyprus and the Kurds, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar about djiadistes movements, Syria for the killing of his population by Bashar al-Assad, etc …
I know my opinion is pushed to the extreme, but I prefer to think like that rather than get involved in conflicts where we can do nothing.
We no longer have the means to be the police of the world.

jonesy
jonesy
March 21, 2014 3:16 pm

Frenchy,

“As long as the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Russia and China have the nuclear bomb, it will happen nothing untoward”

Quite so. Certainly puts a new light on the UK’s Trident replacement discussion!.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 3:24 pm

I’m sorry if my opinion is inappropriate, I know I look like a troll, but I’m pragmatic, moderators can delete my post if they want.

Observer
Observer
March 21, 2014 3:30 pm

Actually Frenchie, you don’t look like you are trolling. You set out your stand and the reasons behind it very clearly. And I doubt your opinion is a minority. In fact, I believe a fair fraction of the population thinks the same as well, and I do understand the reasons behind it. It is a very valid opinion and a very common one.

Martin
Editor
March 21, 2014 3:39 pm

@ Observer – While I hate to agree with derek he is right. I’m all for playing devils advocate but your defending the actions of a murderer and dictator that no only oppresses his own people but has now occupied a sovereign country and brought us back to a level of barbarism best consigned to the 20th century.

Ukraine is irrelevant in this situation, it’s the principal that is the issue and their are zero shades of grey in that respect. You simply can’t go around chopping bits out of other peoples countries because you have the means to do so.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 3:43 pm

Portugal and Spain have shared the world by the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494.
United Kingdom and France have shared the world between the 19th and 20th century.
USA and the USSR after World War II.
Now begins a new world order, between Asia and the West.

Simon257
Simon257
March 21, 2014 3:48 pm
Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 3:56 pm

Thank you TD :)

In France my opinion will be censored, but i know in UK, you are more open-minded.

Observer
Observer
March 21, 2014 4:02 pm

Martin, it’s a mess out there, things are not really so clear cut.

Think of it as a case of Russian Indian giving.

Frenchie, TD really is more open minded. He lets you speak your piece. If you get out of hand, all he does is send someone to silence y…*gak!…*……*dial tone*…

Bluenose
Bluenose
March 21, 2014 4:04 pm

‘Now begins a new world order, between Asia and the West.’

Yes, but in each of those scenarios there were several powers who would work with / against the stronger and who’s position the leading states had to consider in their realpolitik calculations.

I am no proponent of Whigish views of history, but that is how the modern international game / consensus was built and if one (EU / US) decides to abandon it then you certainly will see power, convention, expectation and approach to international relations drift away from democratic governments towards those with a more authoritarian bent.

These scenarios are always too complicated for glib solutions but it is a nasty, cold universe out there and in the absence of anyone trying to impose some restraint / moderation on these kind of events then the strong will do what they wish and the weak will continue to suffer what they must. You can simply accept it and move on, but in doing so you make it more likely to reoccur.

Martin
Editor
March 21, 2014 4:05 pm

@ Observer

In terms of sanctions. UN sanctions are irrelevant. Its EU and US sanctions that count as Iran has found out. if you are locked out of the dollar your only option is the Euro or possibly the pound if you can’t get either of those then you are effectively locked out of all global transactions. Even a Chinese bank won’t touch you with a ten foot poll for fear of being locked out of the ability to transact business in dollars. even the pissy weak sanctions taken by the USA today affecting one Russian bank wiped 3% of the Russian market. Full sanctions like those placed on Iran would devastate Russia long before it could build any pipelines to China.

@ Frenchie

You say the west is weak and their is nothing we can do. The EU and the USA Still constitute the bulk of the worlds economy and military capability not to mention almost 100% of its reserve currency’s. Their is very little we can’t do. What we lack is the will not the resources. we are in a massively stronger position today that we were at the end of the Cold War.

For all the apparent power of China and its economy they are bricking it about the US Federal reserve ending its QE program. what kind of super power relies on money printed in another country to keep its own economy going.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 4:25 pm

@Bluenose

I think democracy and human rights are not imposed by force, but Chinese and Russian travel, they go to Europe and USA, they are returning to their countries with our values, and gradually, they will impose our values ​​in their countries, because our values ​​are universal. I prefer to see the thing like that. Not military force.

Bluenose
Bluenose
March 21, 2014 4:51 pm

,

I wish these values were universal but I really fear that they are not and so there is no ‘right side of history’, comfort ourselves as we do that it includes us. However, the benefits of life in Europe or the US is not lost on people who see it (or secretly envy it), so I do concur that the soft power approach can be as valuable. Right up until it need to be backed by threat or use of force

On the other hand, strong as ‘the West’ [sic] is (as Observer points out) we need to pick our battles carefully because they are fought in the name of the domestic polity and not on the whim of an autocrat (as well as being costly in blood and treasure). Is the West trying to help Ukraine? Defend an ideal? Is it threatened by Russian actions, or threatened by the consequences of not responding?

And, the big one of course; how to you get your balls out of the mangle when the unanticipated inevitably happens?

Technically, NATO is powerful enough militarily and economically to hurt Russia in a ‘limited’, conventional struggle over Crimea, but does it really want to and how do you keep it limited?

For Russia this was a realpolitik gamble to retrieve something they felt was theirs on the basis that the situation was ripe and NATO will do nothing. The goal was there and the military / economic / bullying means seemed justified by it; however, the goals are not the same as the ends and the difference between the two is usually the means you employ to reach them. I have a feeling that this scenario may end up biting Putin on the arse in ways he and his circle did not quite expect.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 5:16 pm

All electronic devices are built in China, capacitors, resistors, transformers, if China closes on itself, it’s bad for them and it is bad for us, globalization makes us interdependent. Similarly if Russia closes gas and oil valves is bad for them and for us. The future of the armed forces is to act at the request of a sovereign country with a UN mandate, it is finished to attack a country for vague reasons. This is the only thing that will change. And we don’t have the means to attak Syria, the Russians have taken away a prickly problem for us.

Jonathan
Jonathan
March 21, 2014 7:21 pm

There is a lot of discussion around the right or wrong of the annexation of Crimean, in truth it’s not relevant. It has happened, no going back. Russia thought it needed to act to protect its strategic interest ( we invade and act against other nations for the same reason) the west does not like the action, that’s it.No one looks back at the German annexation of Austria in 38 after Germany sent in troops to enforce a referendum for annexation, against treaty obligations and suggests that a hard line intervention by other European nations would have been justified or appropriate with the knowledge they had at the time, as the population supported annexation and the treaty obligation was enforced ( like Crimea being part of Ukraine). The issue then as now is the weak and contradictory response from other nations which highlights weakness and a lack of resolve, this is an open invitation to your average opportunity driven predatory dictator. The west should have pragmatically acknowledged the Russian strategic interest, not reacted with rhetoric and aggressive tit for tat sanctions that will escalate tension ( after all no war crimes have been committed) but should have instead firmly highlighted what it considers it’s strategic interest and explained this line with firm defence commitments. Then everyone knows what line can’t be crossed and if it is crossed war was inevitable anyway ( as in 39) so you are at least prepared. If Britain and France had done this after the Anschluss and fully supported Czechoslovakia in 39 the outcome would likely have been a backdown by Hilter and the containment and slow death of that nastiness, or if he had pushed a swift defeat.

Now we await to see if a weak divided NATO is going to bark at inappropriate times look foolish and land us in WW3 a couple of years and a few more poor moves down the line.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 21, 2014 8:12 pm

@ Jonathan,
Could not have said it better myself.

A pedantic point of history: if security guarantees for Czechkoslovakia had been upheld, there would have been one fairly large nation as part of that action… Had it ever come into any action ; not very likely in that circumstance.

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 21, 2014 8:41 pm

@Jonathan

You are talking about NATO, I talk about the UN, there is no UN resolution to attack Russia, which is a permanent member of the Security Council, so legally unassailable. In addition Russia did not attack anyone, it annexed the Crimea after a referendum that the West does not accept the validity. For his part, Putin believes that the ex-president of Ukraine is the only legitimate president because he has been elected after a real election and that the current leaders are putschists. This is an argument that is valid from a certain point of view.
We believe that only our point of view is true, because the current leaders are pro-European, but all the Ukrainian political class is corrupt. I like neither side.

Chris
Chris
March 21, 2014 8:59 pm

It seems Ukraine has a few heavy tanks of its own: http://uk.weather.com/story/travel/inside-ukraines-tank-graveyard-20140317

I wonder how long the de-mothballing takes?

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
March 21, 2014 9:37 pm

One aspect of this discussion which needs to be clarified a bit is the difference between the Ukrainian parliament and the Ukrainian government, in the 6 days after the fall of the previous government there was no Ukrainian government, all decisions were made by debate and open voting by all members and they slowly built a new government, the players were all known and some approved early on but they didn’t officially become the government of Ukraine until the 27th when the parliament voted to approve them.

The current members of parliament were all free and fairly elected (as far as can be known) well before the protests even began, the current government is made up of some of these members of parliament.

The previous President was removed from office by being impeached by the parliament in an open vote.

Bringing in the language law that was approved by a very early vote in parliament when there was no government, when the government was approved they rectified this by saying the laws wouldn’t change.

The only problem was by this stage Russia had already started invading Crimea and were committed.

anon
anon
March 21, 2014 10:31 pm

@ Johnathon

You could have picked an even earlier example,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remilitarization_of_the_Rhineland

In 1936 militarily Germany was certainly in no state to take on both France and Great Britain.

Politicians in both states literally chose the path of least resistance. At times of crisis politicians often remember they are elected to represent and to save one’s career it is best to go with the will of the people. Substitute the word neck for career and you have the situation we saw recently in the Ukrainian.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 21, 2014 10:43 pm

I’d say the Crimea is a done deal, and whatever the “Black and White” Merchants might argue, there are in my opinion enough shades of grey to walk away from the Peninsula itself with a troubled conscience, but no worse…salved a little with some thoughtful sanctions rigorously applied; the bigger issue is how and how effectively we can guarantee the future of Western Ukraine, and what we do subsequently to re-calibrate our relationship with Russia and our longer term diplomatic and defence planning and capacity…for make no mistake, we are more than capable of rebuilding both should we but have the will to do so, and effective leadership to focus that will.

My real concern is not so much the imminent fall of the west, as the belief that our political class will continue to close their eyes, shut up their ears and go lalalala…well past the point that any wholly sane person would realise that such a response was simply not good enough…and therefore when we are finally forced to stand our ground…which in the end we will, make no mistake…the consequences will be horrible beyond our current imagining (although I do not personally expect a full scale nuclear exchange, It is worth observing that whatever gizmos the Chinese make it is the brains of Silicon Valley that drive them…only the West could reasonably be capable of waging unlimited cyber war)

My concern as always is that the cowardly, half-witted and self-serving reptiles that are our political class will still persist in believing that winning the next election matters more than anything else even as the Fabled Towers of Ilium begin to smoulder beneath a darkening sky and a baleful moon.

I therefore remain remorselessly Gloomy about the whole sorry business.

GNB

Simon257
Simon257
March 21, 2014 11:11 pm

GNB

I couldn’t agree more.

If nothing else was to happen in the Ukraine in which to make the current situation any worse. This sadly, will all be forgotten in a months time. Never mind the next election!

Bluenose
Bluenose
March 22, 2014 12:07 am

@GNB,

I believe Illium burned because they took something the rightly believed was there’s (shades of grey over the legality) and the Western coalition chose to contest the issue; queue bloodshed destruction, despite various attempts at a negotiated settlement.

A most apposite comparison, one might say.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 22, 2014 12:28 am

@Bluenose – I try where possible to be exact… :-)

GNB

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
March 22, 2014 3:42 am

Russia’a annexation of the Crimea is against all international law but iternational law is usually not worth the paper it is written on. Without an effective UN to back it up, and with Russia’s veto nothing is going to happen, no action can be taken within a legal framework and Putin knows this.

As for sanctions, well the delays and provaricating have allowed many assets to be moved outside of US and EU juristicion so the targets are not going to really worry and only suffer a minor inconvenience. This is only going to embolden Russia and any other country with similar ideas as they now know the west cannot effectively oppose their actions.

The west has in recent times interveaned in a number of countries in order to support the removal of Governments it has deemed undesirable, In all these cases the results have actually been worse it can be argued. The west is great at offering encouragement but Putin in the Crimea had followed up insuring that the replacement regime is what he wanted and has been willing to back up those requesting his aid. In this the west has failed through a lack of political and public will, but this must have encouraged ethnic Russians in the Crimea knowing Putin would support them and that the west would not effectively support the Ukraine.

Ukraine has lost the Crimea and any long term settlement with Russia will probably see at least part of eastern Ukraine becoming part of Russia as well.

The EU caanot afford to fight a sanctions war with Russia. Germany’s economy will go down the pan if it loses 50% of its energy supply and its reserves are used up. Yes there are other sources of Gas etc but Europes infrastructure is totally set up to recieve Russian supplies. Petrochemical exports to the EU are now less than 20% of GDP so their use of the Energy weapon ie. turning off the gas is a viable tactic and would be devastating to the EU over any period of time, but which Russia could cope with.

NATO has neither the will or the means to prevent Russian expansion in areas it deems to have an interest. Its main concern must be the Baltic States as though Russia at present has shown no interest in reclaiming these, the treatment of ethnic Russians in all three states has not been good to say the least since they broke away from Russia. Would NATO go to war with Russia over the Baltics? Russian intervention to protect ethnic Russians is not an impossibility in the future and I cannot see NATO moving units up there anytime soon as the Politicians would rightly see this as a red flag to the Russians and would not want to escalate thigs in that region.

The only way forward in all of this is to engage with Russia on all levels. We have got to find a way to turn public opinion in Russia away from the idea that the west’s intentions are hostile and that its Governments are mainly far right. The biggest obsticle to this is going to be Putin’s cult of personality and unfortunately only rubbing his ego will really work there. In the short term we are gong to have to live with a Russia we have little influence over, whist trying to reduce our dependance on Russian energy. Russia needs feel respected and like it or not in future we will have to.

Observer
Observer
March 22, 2014 5:42 am

If you guys are all so worried and concerned over law and order, why isn’t there any noise regarding the revolt and overthrow by violence of an elected government? If you want to stand your ground regarding “law”, you cannot have selective implementation and in most countries I know, overthrowing your government comes under a big no-no. Unfortunately no one is going to make noise over Ukraine’s revolt because we like them more than Russia.

If you insist on being legalistic with regards to Russia, then I insist that you make a stand against Ukraine too, otherwise it is just cronyism in another form. Selective implementation of the law against people you don’t like, while those you like get a free pass. Higher order cronyism is still cronyism, overthrowing an elected government is still a revolt and illegal.

This is one of the grey areas I mentioned.

“I wonder how long the de-mothballing takes?”

That’s not mobilizing, that is a total reconstruction. I doubt any of the tanks can be used any more, you need to melt down the whole tank and rebuild it. If you stored it in climate controlled conditions, 8 hours from start to reactivation max, but in the open like that? Most of it is gone. I’ve seen it with our old Centurion tanks, they were way past their service life and just left to rot, totally gone. Not even sure if there was enough metal left to even make it worth melting the tank down for steel. With 400 tanks, I’m sure the steel can be recycled for something useful, but to use them as tanks again? Not likely. Pillboxes maybe.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 22, 2014 6:44 am

@ Observer,

As for the extra legality points that you raise, they are covered in the 9:37 pm post by ET.

This whole mess went from trivial to critical by grave policy errors on behalf of the USA and EU in the period prior to the six days of the non-Government in Ukraine, and by the Ukrainians themselves in those six days.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 22, 2014 6:59 am

If anyone wants to hear the policy making chaos for themselves, the phone discusion between Assistan Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and “her” man on the ground in Ukraine in those faithful days is on utube. That is the item I opened up the March Open Thread with
Open Thread – March 2014”

ArmChairCivvy March 1, 2014 at 11:38 am

Then I got the lunatics on my tail, and saw red. The difference is just that they see red every day. That is why I referred to the wiki definition of trolling ( scary tales to children about giants that can turn evil)
… Hmmm, with utmost stupidity one can make even that become true.

It is a good 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down. The adjustment period starting now will probably be either side of 5 years before we are back to normal.

Steve
Steve
March 22, 2014 7:57 am

@Jonathan has reminded us that Hitler was encouraged by weak western response to initially justifiable German looking after its own people – the Rhineland, Sudetenland etc, before advancing into less justifiable expansion.

German pride was wounded by the territory lost after Versailles, just as Russian pride was wounded after they lost the Cold War and former parts of USSR sought and gained independence.

Now we have the following:
http://time.com/31494/russia-expresses-concern-for-estonias-russian-community/

Does @Observer have any concern regarding the last Russian comment?

Frenchie
Frenchie
March 22, 2014 8:46 am

I agree with Observer and Lord Jim,

Concerning the Baltic States, they are part of NATO, Putin is crazy but not to the level to do a frontal attack of NATO. Moreover for the moment there is nowhere war.

Observer
Observer
March 22, 2014 9:13 am

Steve, kill em all. :) Never said I was a pacifist, and if the situation is clear cut, go for it. Problem is that the world isn’t so black and white. If you have to kill someone, 1) make sure it is the right person and 2) make it count for something. Half fu-ked is the same as totally fu-ked.

Anyway, the West needs to get over Germany, Russia is not Germany, or at least has not been for 20 years in a way, and his name is not Adolf Putin. To assume everything is the same as 1942 is to be unable to evaluate the situation on its own merits and disadvantages. Of course you get the same in the East with Japan, but the irony is that it is often the aggressor accusing the other side of being “Japan”. Either way, screw WWII and work with what you have now, not what you have 70 years ago.

My prediction, which is exactly that, a prediction open to failure or success, is that Russia will enter a consolidation stage for now without further expansion, provided nothing forces their hand like terror attacks from a neighbour or a massacre of ethnic Russians on their borders. Right now, they need to get their ducks in order first, the Ukraine thing kicked off so fast that I doubt there was anything like strategic planning at all. February to March was the time when everything went to hell in a handbasket, so anything done would have been off the cuff. Lots of integration issues to tackle. The Germans had a taste of the difficulty after the Berlin wall, so reintegration is hardly an easy thing to do.

Simon257
Simon257
March 22, 2014 9:48 am

Having to work nights all week, I have been able to listen to Radio 4 & 5. Listening to to the opinion of Russian Experts from Kings College in London and Oxford University. Their were a couple of points that stood out, on how the Russians see things.

1. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was never truly offered the hand of Friendship. Not like the way Germany, Italy or Japan were treated after WW2. Russia feels or believes that she was always being kept at arms length. Not just by Europe, but especially the USA. They feel that their have been no attempts of real investment, no real attempts of real friendship.

2. The Russian’s believe that are always portrayed as the Bogey man! No matter what they do. They are always wrong. They are portrayed as being obstinate in the UN. Their opinion is always disregarded, discounted or ignored as just plain wrong at the UN or on the world stage by the West.

3. Certain elements of the West think that the Russian liberal parties are a threat to Putins future as President. They are unfortunately a minority in Russia. Putin real enemies are the Ultra Nationalist’s. We could end up with a real hardcore leader!

Observer
Observer
March 22, 2014 10:02 am

Simon, very true. Relations with the ex-Soviet Union can be characterised by 2 decades of neglect. All helped along by insisting that “US jobs stay US”. Missed opportunity, but with the US local sentiment being the way it is, doubt anything else could fly.

Simon257
Simon257
March 22, 2014 10:02 am

ACC
Apologies, I tried to rate your post at 6:59 as a Pint. But my iPad rated it as cup of tea! And it won’t let me change it! Defiantly a Pint!!

Simon257
Simon257
March 22, 2014 10:31 am

Hi Observer
That’s very true, the USA gets bored very easily, and moves on. You just have to look at how after funding and supporting the Mujahideen in Afghanistan during the Eighties. The USA just walked away without looking back!

Apologies for using Wiki, but here is a quote from the author of Charlie Wilson’s War:

George Crile III, author of the book on which the film is based, wrote that the mujahideen’s victory in Afghanistan ultimately opened a power vacuum for bin Laden: “By the end of 1993, in Afghanistan itself there were no roads, no schools, just a destroyed country—and the United States was washing its hands of any responsibility. It was in this vacuum that the Taliban and Osama bin Laden would emerge as the dominant players. It is ironic that a man who had almost nothing to do with the victory over the Red Army, Osama bin Laden, would come to personify the power of the jihad.”[7]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Wilson's_War

WiseApe
March 22, 2014 10:52 am

On RT this morning one of the main stories was that Crimeans serving in the Ukrainian armed forces are finding it “difficult to return home to their families.” Putin to the rescue again?

Observer
Observer
March 22, 2014 10:56 am

Simon, the problem with the US system is that it has an incredible amount of soft power. Unfortunately, the soft power is not in the hands of the government but the private sector. You can’t expect the US to industrialize the country for you automatically because they are not configured that way. You have to initiate. Once upon a time (in a country far far away), we set up a government department specifically for this, the Economic Development Board. Their job was to canvas for private sector companies, especially from the US and beg, blackmail or threaten to get them to invest in Singapore. Response was pretty good, which showed that there was a demand, they were just waiting for someone to inform and invite them.

So unfortunately, the situation was Russia waiting for US investments, and US investors unaware of Russian opportunities because no one came over to tell them. Someone should tell Russia though, don’t think they know.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
March 22, 2014 11:03 am

– I don’t think it is so much that the Cousins get bored than that they – and indeed the rest of the West (who should, in my opinion have known better and taken more responsibility) were drawn by the extraordinarily “black and white” nature of WW2 into believing that the world was black and white as opposed to full of complex and nuanced shades of grey. Furthermore, many of the greys of the cold war period were dark enough to sustain that illusion…in consequence of which by 1989 people were conditioned to imagine a black and white world – and believe that white had won (hence the keen approval for the half-witted idea advanced in Fukushima’s “End of History”)

They were wrong, and we need to relearn who to deal with grey within an acceptable moral framework…not easy, not least because as the various comments floating around hereabouts show black and white continues tio enjoy great traction amongst far too many otherwise intelligent people.

Clearly, as an experienced and still potent state like the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland could have a great deal to contribute to this – were it not run by half-witted political pygmies…

Thus still Gloomy

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 22, 2014 12:00 pm

“Europe scrambles to break gas dependence on Russia, offers Ukraine military tie
South Stream pipeline intended to link the EU to Russia through the Black Sea by 2018 is now “dead”.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/10715577/Europe-scrambles-to-break-gas-dependence-on-Russia-offers-Ukraine-military-tie.html?

jedibeeftrix
March 22, 2014 1:20 pm

i have to say i am at least sympathetic to Derek’s PoV:

russia’s action has torn up the cold war consensus that national borders must be respected.

and so much of this international ‘law’ works as little more than a moral force that such a thing must not be done.

well not it has, and that moral force has evaporated.

http://lindleyfrench.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/nato-russia-and-new-cold-peace.html

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
March 22, 2014 1:29 pm

Didn’t that moral force take fatal blow with the invasion of Iraq? Isn’t this one of the repercussions that was warned about?

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
March 22, 2014 2:06 pm

I have to say though I don’t always agree with NATO intervention, there is a big difference between intervention and annexation.

The only time (that I can think of) NATO has redrawn borders in the last 20 years to my mind has been Kosovo, and that is still being negotiated 8 years on.

Jonathan
Jonathan
March 22, 2014 4:32 pm

Observer

You say that Russia is not Germany and we all need to get over 1942, and that this is a different situation. Yes I agree in principle, but never throw away your learning,the basic lessons of the interwar period on how nation states interact and react after the collapse of a multi ethnic empire and a humiliating defeat are valid. The key problem is that we have forgotten the lessons of the interwar years and post WW2. It was the interwar handling of Germany and Central Europe after it’s defeat between 1919 193O that started the road to WW2. This lesson was well learn and the treatment of the defeated nations after WW2 was in stark contrast to the interwar years. We forgot this lesson by 1990 and treated post Cold War Russia and the surrounding nations in the same way we treated Central Europe in the interwar years. We are now reaping that mistake.

Individuals, population and nations almost always react in a number of predicable ways if the triggers are the same or similar, so looking at lessons from the late 30s is now valid, you just need to interweave them with the new variables using robust risk management methodology.

as
as
March 22, 2014 9:15 pm

Wedding bells and threat of shells in Crimea: Two soldiers marry in bizarre ceremony at the last Ukrainian-occupied army base just before the Russians steam in and shoot at least two troops

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2586765/Breaking-News-Defiant-Ukranian-commander-orders-outnumbered-men-stand-ground-expect-engage-Russian-troops-surrounding-military-base.html
So they are going to take the ships off the navy and not let them leave to join the rest in Odessa.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
April 6, 2014 9:20 pm

Organised pro-Russian demonstrations have now started in the Eastern Ukraine…how long before Putin feels compelled to act “In defence of threatened Russian speakers, facing persecution from the illegitimate fascist regime in Kiev?”…anybody awake at all over at the FCO…

A very gloomy Gloomy.